Geocaching Weekend at Historic Waterloo Village

2017 Metro Gathering

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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In what is becoming a yearly tradition, we traveled up to Stanhope, New Jersey to visit Waterloo Village alongside the Morris Canal for a geocaching event hosted by the Metro Gathering club. The village is a beautiful place with historical significance, built around the Morris Canal. On this weekend, the fall colors were riotous and the weather was grand. You could not have asked for a better weekend! I was simply happy to be alive and enjoying the day.

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Geocaching

For those unfamiliar with Geocaching, I would encourage you to give this game a try. It helps me to discover new and interesting places!

The primary goal for this weekend was to attend a geocaching event, collect some virtual lab finds, and to spend a fun weekend with my sister and friend.

Walking Stick Workshop

What started out as a big misunderstanding ended with a very satisfied project.

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I had read there was a workshop available on making your own walking stick. I thought the workshop have us customizing existing walking sticks. Perhaps staining the stick a preferred color, adding a decoration or two, and calling it \”my walking stick.\”

It was with eager anticipation that I sought out our workshop location. I found a tarp-covered table and naively assumed this was the registration site.  I marched right up and signed the three of us for our workshop.   Won\’t this be fun?

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A very nice man than told me to go find my stick and casually pointed to a pile of firewood located behind the tarp.  I looked.  Those aren\’t walking sticks… those are broken tree branches. I looked at the smiling instructor and back to the pile of sticks – and realized my tragic error.

It became apparent that we would not be decorating a walking stick, but we would be scratching woodland debris into some semblance of a walking stick – manually.  M-A-N-U-A-L-L-Y.  #LessonLearned

My imagination was wildly off the mark.

Our chosen trees

My sister brilliantly selected a Hemlock stick, which was virtually bark-free and already looking like a walking stick.  Carol grabbed a Red Cedar stick, which was closer to a whomp-weapon than a walking stick. I selected a Beach Tree stick with a sturdy Y near the top – which I felt would be my ideal walking stick.

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After making our selections, we were all very excited to begin. Our Instructor provided us with study work gloves and metal rasps/files to strip the bark from the stick.  The three of us settled onto some large rocks located nearby, and began the hours-long project of rasping bark from the branches.

Melanie was bragging about how clever she was to find a stick that required minimal physical work, and I have to confess – she was right!  She finished very quickly and then took off to enjoy finding caches throughout the Village. Carol and I continued to work on our sticks, sitting in the sun and chatting amicably back and forth.

Carol had the most difficult task of debarking the furry Red Cedar.  The cedar bark is hairy and fibrous, clogs up the rasp regularly and needs a lot of repetitive motion.  But Carol was happy and she found her zone, finding the repetitive task relaxing. Apparently I was the only one protesting the manual labor.  I kept asking for power tools and a belt sander! But truthfully, it did become a relaxing project. Carol and I kept working on our sticks, chatting, joking, and enjoying a perfect fall day.

Geocaching and Halloween

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The event planners work hard to find clever and fun hides.  Each year they try new and different locations, giving cachers a chance to really explore the Village. Plus most people tend to geocache in the surrounding areas.  This year we had a good laugh at finding Flat Ichabod, who was hidden under a very large, rolling metal tube.  It took teamwork to unroll Flat Ichabod, and lots of laughter.

All in all, we had an amazing and fun-filled day.

Finished project

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I had fun making fun of myself and my walking stick fiasco. But, honestly? It was a true pleasure to create something from \’nothing\’ – and we each treasure our new walking sticks.  On a rainy weeknight, I tried my hand at decorating my walking stick to make it more unique.  I\’m not sure how good those leather straps will hold up, but I love my Emerson motto element.  I am certain this stick will be used often in the coming years.  I\’m proud of this stick, and am very grateful for the workshop.

 


Trip Summary

Trip Worthy?

  • Day trip? Yes
  • Weekend Trip? Yes. Explore the village and parks nearby.
  • Worth Going Out of Our Way?  I am charmed by this village and the history it holds. Plus, the location is beautiful. I think it is worth diverting to spend a few hours or an entire day in the Village. Consider this an add-on to other local events or tours.
  • Worth air-fare? No

Kid / Pet Friendly?

  • School kids? Absolutely! If you do plan this trip, schedule it for a sunny day and mix outdoor activities with history and educational lessons.  There is a small Canal Museum that will give the history and significance of the Village. Plus the Lenape village is always a big hit.
  • Teens? This is a large facility which can let teens stretch their legs. Trails and paths, lakes and buildings are all fun places you\’ll enjoy exploring together.
  • Really young kids? Strollers are fine if they can handle stone / dirt paths.
  • Pets?  Pets were seen and appear to be permitted (except at overnight facilities).

Enjoyment Level?

  • If you are looking for sports, constant entertainment – this isn\’t for you.
  • If you like beautiful places and history, Waterloo Village is a lovely visit.
  • There are many other historical locations, natural parks, and National Parks in the area which could be used to create an amazing weekend trip, including:
    • Sterling Hill Mining Museum and glow rocks
    • Great Patterson Falls
    • Edison National Park (and house tour)
    • Gateway National Recreation Area
    • Statue of Liberty ferry tour
    • Plus many charming New Jersey towns.